The Public Security Ministry started cracking down on illegal online information services in May. Since then, more than 200 criminal suspects have been seized in over 40 cases nationwide. Procuratorate Daily commented on Tuesday:
All of the criminal suspects caught in the ministry's campaign were the network spammers, shuijun, which is a term for those who blackmail enterprises and government departments or officials by fabricating rumors or phony consumer comments.
In many cases, they are self-employed, although sometimes they are loosely organized through chat groups on social media.
Although the internet user population in China－more than 751 million by July－dwarfs the number of people who are part of the online spammers, the power of their damaging shots should not be underestimated.
They are invariably experts in making use of the internet to manipulate people's opinions by making up the "facts" according to their agenda or the needs of their employers.
For these spammers, whose activities are on the brink of breaking the law, the internet provides countless opportunities. Their harmful practices disrupt the order in cyberspace and violate people's rights.
Inernet users should enhance their media literacy and raise their awareness of the complexity of the opinion market in the cyberspace, since they are not only the users but also constituent participants in cyberspace.
It is the shared responsibility of the authorities and every netizen and network operator to create a healthy online environment.